Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blooking, it's limits and excesses

Starting this off, Kudos to Cheryl Hagedorn for her excellent blog on blooks. I searched for a key post that defined the problem I've been having.

Copyright issues from your blog

When writing a book you have all sorts of copyright concerns. Something someone else has written, their exact words, are nearly sacrosanct in our modern society. (Since I've worked to republish public domain works that have fallen out of print, this has gotten a fair bit of research on my dime.)

However, when you are blogging, you can simply quote the whole thing, as long as you include their link. In fact, people want you to copy and link as it improves their search engine standings.

When you then go to write the book, you are stuck with the conundrum. While you have permission to republish articles unaltered, with their links and attribution, this only goes as far as online re-publishing. Writing a book doesn't necessarily get this right. Especially when you are trying to make a profit off of your collection of blog posts.

You have two solutions that I see now:
  1. Fugetaboutit. Leave it out. Too bad about any outline you had.
  2. Rewrite their concepts in your own words - completely. The concepts, even if you follow their outline - as long as you use none of their word combinations - can't be copywrited. Some ideas can be patented, but that's a different discussion...
PLR - Private Label Rights

Something that has begun getting a life of it's own is using PLR articles in your books. This is particularly easy in article marketing - while you have to substantially re-write these in order to get them posted to article directories, you can use them as much as you want in writing ebooks which you either give away or sell.

This is a really easy way to publish without having to re-invent the wheel. I've needed to cover a great deal of territory and simply can't allocate the time to have to research and write very mundane subjects like marketing - which has various specificities and links and so on. (I prefer the metaphysical and the esoteric, they are much more rewarding.)

By pulling out my virtual sheafs of PLR articles, I can then find a lot of very good work which I can then put up in my books. (Works the same as that maker of peanut butter which has various labels put on it. Or the Vitamin E producer in L.A. which has a wall of shelves of bottles at his business showing all the various companies he stuffs his product into.)

Now, reversely, you can blog this stuff with impunity. Just slap your label on it and you're done. Still means you're responsible for the quality you're producing.

And I have to still edit the whole book word by word in order to make sure it says only exactly what I want it to.

Tying up your blook

I've covered the issue of blogging/blooking sequence earlier.

The post mentioned above (Hagedorn's), tells of this author submitting an outline and prose sample in addition to her blogging the content.

But she also has posts where authors are trying to make heads or tails out of all their varied blog posts.

You see, the scene is often that you can blog when the inspiration hits you - but that then has to be woven into your tapestry. So you can wind up with a "rag rug" to cover the entry way (until it wears out) or a finely-patterned heirloom which is prized and no foot ever touches it.

Somewhere (or several somewheres) I've mentioned that I use Google to keep track of my blogging so I can then get to blooking. Today, it became the paydirt I've been wanting to hit. (And inspired the first part of this post.) When I blog (via Blogger), I have the blog email me to my Gmail account. Then I filter these so that the posts simply get labelled and dumped into my archives. So I'm not distracted by them.

Today, I was wanting to pull up all my posts on podcasting, press releases, and some other varied subjects. I was able to search on gmail, then click the link to bring up the page. Scraping either this or the gmail text, I was able to then dump these into a text file where I can then bring them into my OpenOffice Text processor to make the book/PDF.

This brings up the technique of how to make your blog a blook/book without having to do all sorts of searching to extract your relevant text.

Ah, the beauties of computerized efficiencies - and how our bliss is supported in the blogosphere...

update: 071017 -
And don't forget Google Desktop. You can search your own desktop and gmail at the same time - and it tracks by your most recent usage. Only drawback is that it takes a chunk out of your C:/ drive. Otherwise, it gives a great way to track things. Where your blog posts to your gmail, you then can search all your blogs for keywords from your own local search. I use these three Google products to track all my research - despite all the rumors of privacy problems. If they are really interested in book marketing and agriculture, they can have it.
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